Southern University Wellness Summit shares mental health resources with students and staff

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Southern University and Athletes for Hope took over the Bluff on Friday to host a wellness summit for students and staff, focusing on mental health.

“To come out and share your story and say, ‘Hey, I’m not okay. But we need to know that not being well is good, ”said Jemiela Castleberry, registered social worker and behavioral health counsellor.

Part of the Southern University Athletics Fan Fest weekend, the wellness festival included presentations from mental health professionals and advocates. Highlights include a presentation from the CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Daniel Gillison, which raises awareness of the mental health needs of students.

The athlete panel moderated by Dr. Marlin Hollins, assistant athletic director of Southern University Advancement, focused on mental health resources in the campus area. Yoga, mindfulness moments and targeted providers focusing on community mental health support.

“It’s important that we had an event like this, just because there’s this stigma about how strong athletes have to be at all times,” said Raquel Latta, a senior softball player.

As HBCU, Southern takes an active role in the discussion about mental health in the black community — particularly among its student-athletes.

“In the long run, sport is not just about winning and losing, it shapes our future for people,” Latta said.

Southern’s campus has been rocked by the tragedies of mental illness within the Jaguar community.

“Last semester, we lost one of our Jaguars. and I have to say her name was Arlana Miller,” Hollins said.

Dr. Hollins adds that the University, “We’re still here and you’re still the champion and we love you.”

Call 988 to reach the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and follow their advice. You can also visit their website for more information.

You can also visit Southern University’s Mental Health Counseling Services website.